F***ing magnets, how do they work?

 
This is why I mount all my figures on steel magnets these days. This cheap plastic storage box has had a magnetic sheet stuck into it with double-sided tape; it holds the figures securely enough that they'll stay in place with the box up-ended. They don't rattle around against each other, chipping off all the paint applied with so much sweat and heartbreak. It won't hold the figures down against a severe jolt, but for normal handling, or for sitting in the back seat of a car for example, it's fine.

I got the magnetic sheet from a signwriter. It's the same stuff used for fridge magnets, or the temporary signs used for car doors and the like, and it's pretty cheap — if I recall correctly, I paid about $20 for a square metre of the stuff.

And that's the lot


These are the last three of my old 15mm Traveller minis, all painted up and ready to go. Nearly. Now I have to give the whole lot of them a couple of coats of varnish and mount them on 15mm steel washers so that they'll stick to a magnetic mat for storage.

The space-assassin on the left was problematic; I find it very difficult to paint black so that it doesn't just become a featureless blob, but also so that highlighting doesn't make it look grey.

Nearly there


Just three more left to paint. It was two, but then I found another one. I rather like the hugely-muscled brute on the right; he could fit into all sorts of RPG genres.

And still more


The next group, from various packs. The guy on the left is from the Crewmen set; crewmen clearly have no taste or colour sense when it comes to dress.

....and again

Here's the next batch of those RAFM 15mm Traveller figures. These ones are from Infantry Pack #4, and by the looks of them they could have been modified from masters for WWII US infantry. I've painted them in more or less WWII colours, except that the weapons are in the same green as helmets etc. — I've assumed they'd be made mostly of plastics and ceramics rather than wood and steel.


15mm Traveller minis - the next batch


OK, the next batch. The three on the left are robots of course, and I felt that I had to do the humanoid one in C3PO gold. I like the left-most one a lot; it's described in the RAFM catalogue as a "Security Bot" and comes in a pack of ten. I may have to get some. I don't care that much about either of the other two 'bots; they're OK but they don't really float my boat. They're from the Support Staff set.

The two figures on the right would be useful PC figures; the woman in the virulent green jump-suit is one of the Space Vixens set*, the armoured guy is from Infantry Pack #3. Players will move heaven and earth to get their hands on heavy combat armour, so I can see this figure being a popular one.


* Seriously? Space Vixens? Good grief.

Old 15mm RAFM Traveller figures

RAFM 15mm Traveller miniatures — click to embiggen
 I've had these figures knocking around in my collection for a good long time — 20-25 years easily, though they're a little older than that. In their day, they were easily the best 15mm figures available in any genre; 15mm wargaming figures of the time tended to be pretty basic. For many years, these were the only 15mm sci-fi figures available, and I think they were originally marketed under the FASA banner.

These days, 15mm figures have improved enormously, and there are plenty of manufacturers to rival RAFM in terms of sculpting quality. These guys are still right at the top of the field when it comes to character though; they're just oozing with it. RAFM have re-released them, and I'm sorely tempted to buy some more now that at long last I can.

I've just got around to thinking about painting them, after all these years. My friend Joffre is planning to run a space-opera-ish sci-fi campaign in a few weeks, and I thought it might be useful to have to figures ready and waiting for the fun to start. I think 15mm is ideal for modern/sci-fi gaming; they're large enough to be identifiable, but small enough to accommodate the longer ranges at which combat tends to happen — fantasy games tend to concentrate a lot more on hand-to-hand stuff, so the larger figure scales aren't as problematic. I've tried using WH40K Epic 6mm figures in the past, but they're just too tiny to be manageable as single figures.

The rest of them — undercoated, awaiting paint. Also embiggenable by clicking.

New dice! They're shiny!

The Lou Zocchi Gamescience dice I ordered some considerable time ago (back in the middle of August) from frpgames.com have finally arrived. Or perhaps, to be more accurate, some substitutes for some dice that I ordered from frpgames.com have finally arrived. I can't say that I'm terribly impressed with frpgames; my order was delayed and delayed because the dice I had ordered, though shown as in stock on their website, weren't actually in stock. I got a lot of messages saying that they would be "getting new stock in any day now, don't worry, everything is under control".... but the new stock of the dice I had actually ordered never turned up. After months of waiting, I eventually lost patience and got them to substitute some other dice that I didn't like nearly as much, just so that I could get the bloody order sorted out at long last.

I don't think I'll be buying (or rather, trying to buy) anything from frpgames.com again.

Just while I'm in the mood for bitching, let me voice my loud complaints about the US Postal Service. A fair part of the waiting time I had to put up with was due to their incredible slowness, and for that "service" they charged an arm and a leg. It cost me about $US18.00 to get a 2 ounce package from the USA to New Zealand, which is about five times what it costs me to get a similar package all the way from the UK, on the other side of the world. I thought at first it was just the vendor, racking up the purchase price with nasty hidden fees, but a quick look at the official USPS website confirmed that they are in fact a bunch of bloody pirates and charge like an angry rhino.

Dice, lovely dice my Precious!

Well anyway. I eventually got three sets of white dice for myself, and some coloured and transparent gem dice for my beloved, who is attracted to shiny, sparkly things. I personally don't care for the gem dice at all; they're pretty, but they're a real pain in the arse to read. The problem would be mitigated somewhat if I'd actually got the dice I originally ordered though.... grumble grumble.

When I got my first Zocchi dice, back in the distant past, I had to colour the numbers with paint — which was a royal pain, let me tell you. These days, a white gel pen and a microfine Sharpie makes the job a real breeze. Hoorah for progress! Now, if only I could find somebody who stocks them in New Zealand.

A13 re-paint

OOP Battlefront 15mm A13 Mk.IV
I have a few of Battlefront's old out-of-production early-war AFV models, from back in the distant past, courtesy of a couple of friends. One of them is this A13 Mk.IV cruiser tank, the immediate ancestor of the Covenanter (which never saw action, as far as I know) and the more numerous and famous Crusader series.

I painted it some time ago, but the scholarship of Mike Starmer forced me to eventually admit to myself that I was wrong, wrong, wrong with respect to my colour scheme, so at long last I bit the bullet and re-painted it as you see here to the right.

The original paint-job
was more suitable to
late-war British vehicles
It looks a bit clean and tidy for my usual taste, but then not that many of the vehicles that went to France in 1940 lasted long enough to get very battered before they were either destroyed or abandoned.

The new range of early-war vehicle models from Battlefront looks very nice indeed, and I shall certainly have to get myself some to add to the teetering skyscraper of unassembled, unpainted models that chokes up my workroom.

Unfortunately, if Troy "Ritterkrieg"'s experience is anything to go by, the same can't be said for the infantry sculpts. I'll reserve judgement until I've seen some in the flesh, but it may be that the situation will redound to the benefit of companies like Peter Pig (who, by the way, have one of the ugliest websites I've seen in some time).

Khaki Green #3 in Vallejo paints

The Mix

Swatch Board
click on it for a much larger version

Mike Starmer, grognard and maven par excellence of WWII British vehicle camouflage and markings, has come up with a mix for Vallejo ModelColor paints to replicate the early-war base vehicle colour, Khaki Green #3.

It consists of 1 part 822 (German Camo Black Brown), 1 part 888 (Olive Grey) and 7 parts 921 (English Uniform).

I've painted a swatch board with the base colours and the resulting mix, and I've included a small swatch of 887 (Brown Violet), because it's the VMC colour that Battlefront recommend to represent K.G.#3. Seen next to the K.G.#3 it's clearly too green.

Mike recommends straight 888 (Olive Grey) for Dark Green #4, the primary disruptive colour used until its replacement by Norton's Tarmac Grey (in  about '41, I think). So far, he hasn't made any decision on how to make Light Green #5, the secondary disruptive shade, since he doesn't have access to a sample of the original, but it seems to have been very little used so I think I can live with that for a while.

Personally I trust Mike's scholarship, when it comes to WWII British vehicle colours. He works from primary sources rather than from hearsay, though he seems to be fighting an uphill battle when it comes to convincing modellers that their paint colour choices are wrong.

Yet Another Hill

 I got a cheap 30-watt foam-cutting hot wand from China a few days ago, and tried it out by carving up a foam off-cut into another hill. ...